Rebuild Your Identity [It Might Stink]

INTRODUCTION
Does YOUR identity STINK? If you’re an America, then it might.

How a human identifies plays a crucial role in the survival of any person. It’s what drives them to do certain things. It informs our social connections and behaviors. It can motivate. It can inspire.

It can also be destructive.


IDENTITY AND 1970s FACTORY WORKERS
My memories of factory workers goes back to 1970, when I would show up at the UAW picket line with my mother and distribute buckets of chicken to the workers who were on strike. They had tents set up in the parking lot, burning barrels, the whole thing.

These people built their entire identities around being factory workers. At the time, if you worked at the factory, then you had a fairly secure position.

It was literally all they had. They worked and paid bills. That’s it.

Occasionally, the factory would lay off someone, or fire them. Whenever that happened, I just knew that it was only a matter of time before I’d be reading a news story about that man’s suicide. The best you could hope for was that he didn’t kill his family first.

Why?

Because his identity was attached to the factory and his role as a factory worker. When his identity was taken away, he was left with nothing. He didn’t know where to go. He couldn’t rebuild. He couldn’t find another job.

The hard truth is that he died on the inside long before his body died.

Pro-Tip: If an employer says that everyone at work is “like family,” that’s a cue to run for your life. You don’t want a boss who is like your abusive uncle.


MY TAKE-AWAY
When I noticed this happening, I asked my grandmother about it. She told me all about human identity and the role it plays in our lives.

I was still merely a grade school kid when I decided that I would never tie my identity to my job. Rather, I’d wrap up the whole of my identity as a musician.

“I am a musician!” I declared this to myself every day.


HOW THAT WORKED OUT FOR ME
My life has been a series of one job after another, with no steady, assured platform upon which to land. I’d work as a software teacher, then an Admin Assistant, then an accountant, media duplicator, DVD author, and website tester.

Had I tied my identity to any of these, I’d be in bad shape. I haven’t worked in almost six years.

But my identity as a musician allowed me to flourish, to a degree.

Because my identity was and is anchored in music, it always stays with me, even if I am not working. It gives me confidence.


At the time, it was called “Dennis Morgan’s Fantasy Island.” Ruby and I recorded a theme song for the club, and he loved it. Before this, it was called KELBO’s, and that was a place you’d go to if you were interested in getting shot for no reason at all.

A REAL LIFE EXAMPLE
I used to go to a club in Santa Monica in the 90s called “Fantasy Island” on Pico Blvd. after work. I could have a beer and watch the exotic dancers do their thing. It was a break between the ugliness of the working day and the hellish nightmare that was living with my future ex-wife.

Click HERE to listen to “Fantasy Island” by Ruby and me.

When a guy goes to a place like this, it’s usually to escape something horrific. Judging men in this position only makes it worse. Listen to them and have some sympathy.

When a dancer there was talking to me, she did that typical thing by asking me what I did for a living. I know this is small talk, but I hate it because the answer is typically used to pass judgment. Some people ask that question because they want to know whether or not they should respect you.

Circa December 1996: Ready to take on the world!

At the time, I was an Administrative Assistant. This was in the mid-90s, and at this time men who held this job were considered to be gay and got harassed a great deal. My boss kept with the gay jokes for 5.5 years, and this was at an employee benefits and human resources consulting firm, where they should know better.

So, as this little lady stood there awaiting my response, I said, “I’m a musician.”

It’s true. Although it’s not what I was doing for a living, I was working toward making it my living. And it represented me at my core. Still does.

Pro-Tip: If you are a musician, but do not make money with your music, then you are STILL a musician.

Conversely, being an Administrative Assistant doesn’t really represent me as a person. It would merely serve to inform someone that I can type and that I’m organized.

What I do to make money isn’t who I am. This runs counter to American attitudes, and American attitudes about work are hyper-toxic. Now, back to the story.

She got excited and said she was looking for someone to collaborate with on an album. She asked for my number and said she’d call me. I blew it off, as this happens a lot. But the next day, she called and came over with her lawyer.

Pro-Tip: The old-school Hollywood blow-off was, “My people will call your people,” or “Let’s do lunch.” People on Facebook do this with the phrase, “We should get together sometime.”

From there, we spent the better part of a year making some good music together.

The VIDEO is of us running through this song for the first time, right after we wrote it.
The AUDIO is from the final product.

THIS APPROACH WAS NOT BULLET-PROOF
Life was in full-force by the end of the 2010s. I’d always be in 2-3 bands at the same time while writing and recording with Noodle Muffin.

2005: Venue marquee for The Gig in Hollywood on Melrose. I was drumming in both WHIPLADS and Falling Moon.

Things were moving, and I felt motivated and alive.

My problems were slowly building up, after I got involved with a malignant narcissist who was parading as a musician. We started building a recording studio on his property.

About 4 years in [2013], another “friend” came to me looking for help, claiming that she had cancer. I’ve written about both of these people before, so I won’t be getting too deeply into that. Just understand that they were picking at me and slowly tearing me apart, stealing my time and money, while I was working to help both of them.

While the studio scammer kept his scam focused on me, the cancer scammer put her focus on everyone on my friend’s list. The studio scammer then started spreading rumors that I was “in on it” with the cancer scammer.

This is when people began to stop talking to me, and my reputation took a major hit. At the time, I was in a band called The Wrong Dots with former child actor Robbie Rist. He’s best known as “Cousin Oliver” on the television show, “The Brady Bunch.”

He and I had been friends since he came to the first WHIPLADS show on 9/13/2001. But here we were, in January 2014, and he’s asking me for my phone number because “we need to talk.”

L-R: Karen Blankfeld Basset, me, Robbie Rist, and Jeremy Cohen,
as THE WRONG DOTS.
We were at Rock-N-Roll Pizza filming an episode of Mystery Diners

This told me that he deleted me from his contacts before he did this.

He effectively fired me from the band, stating that my presence would mean that people took him less seriously. I never really took him as someone who cared what other people thought, but he was suddenly very concerned.

With this phone call, I realized that my identity as a musician did not protect me 100% of the time. In fact, it had been destroyed by this experience.

I felt like a factory worker from the 1970s.


IT DID HELP A BIT
My identity as a musician did help me get out of the pit, to a degree. Unlike the factory worker, who’d have to land another factory job in order to be whole again, I decided to focus on myself as a musician, instead of bands and performing.

So I signed up for master class guitar lessons from legendary guitarist Bill Harkleroad, aka Zoot Horn Rollo of Captain Beefheart fame. We spent a full year improving my guitar playing abilities. This wasn’t so I’d be better suited to play in more band situations, but rather so I’d be a better guitar player for myself.

But enough about me. Society is in trouble, and I have an idea.


DO YOU NEED TO REBUILD YOUR IDENTITY?
As I look around, I see lots and lots of people who are suffering because their identities have been corrupted. These people used to have identities that were attached to things like their family lives, their community, the music they like, TV shows they’d watch, and more.

These are what I consider to be “secondary identities,” or “passive identities.” In other words, it’s a type of identity that keeps them busy, keeps them grounded, and it motivates them to say and do the things they say and do.

Some got really wrapped up in a certain reality television show, where reality is never portrayed. The host of that show ran for president. He’s wealthy and famous, and they want to be like him, so they started a parasocial relationship with him, and believe that he’s their friend.

A parasocial relationship is where one person believes that the other person is their friend and that they have a special bond or connection. Meanwhile, the OTHER person has NO IDEA that this person exists, and they don’t care.

We see this a great deal in America with celebrities and musicians.

As a result, I’m seeing people around my age who used to look up to their favorite musicians. But instead of growing out of that and becoming adults, they just switched from that to what can essentially be reduced to the observation that they are worshipping a politician.

I have NEVER seen so many people so wrapped up in a politician. The scary part is that he can do whatever he wants, and they don’t care because he’s that rich and famous guy who will be glad to see them, should they ever meet.

Of course, this is not true. He doesn’t like them. He actually LOOKS DOWN ON THEM. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself. And he pretends to be a Christian, thereby exploiting people who genuinely believe in that stuff, so that they’ll have one more thing in common.

He’s using them, and this has destroyed them.


A BIG NEWSFLASH
To all of the people who are currently in a mode of total hero worship of your favorite politician, there are a few things that you must know.

Your political beliefs are the least interesting thing about you. And yet, you make the entirety of your own “self” all about this. I’d rather hear your doctor’s opinion about the quality of your bowel movements, than hear you blather on about a politician.

The same goes for your religious beliefs. Lots of Americans claim to believe lots of things in a religious sense. I DO NOT CARE what you believe. What’s way more important to me, and the world, is WHAT YOU DO WITH THESE BELIEFS. If you’re being a total turd, then it doesn’t help your case to declare yourself a “good Christian.” Just SHOW ME that you’re a good person.

Self-righteousness is ugly. It’s a certain smug attitude.

Racist attitudes and behaviors are ugly. Enough said.

Hatred of your fellow Americans is NOT American! People who are not like you, such as Democrats or others on the Left, should not be demonized or dehumanized. An American citizen SHOULD NEVER do this to another American citizen.

This is just a high-level list. Making a celebrity politician a big part of your identity is NOT very becoming. It doesn’t welcome others. It locks you into an information bubble. It’s negative, destructive, and horrific.


WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Evaluating one’s own identity is not the easiest thing in the world to do, but it can be done. Below are a few steps to help you get started.

Control your media diet. Do you watch the news too much? As a result, do you feel highly invested in things that you cannot control? Cutting down your media diet is a good way to start getting better. Limit your reading or listening to 30-60 minutes per day.

When your media sources have you locked in, and you end up watching a news channel on YouTube for several hours at a time, they’ve got you. They set your mental and emotional tone for the day. If they sell fear, then you’ll be afraid, and that fear will manifest as anger or hatred.

Cut back or stop using social networking. If you use Facebook, try using it less. Resign from ALL of the political groups you joined. The world won’t die because you’re not there to repeat things that everyone else is saying.

These groups will keep you angry and agitated, and keep you on the hook. The LAST thing any politician wants is for you to find yourself, find your life, and only think of them on occasion. They WANT to live rent-free in your head. Only YOU can stop them.

Stop believing everything you hear. If your sources are constantly telling you that “the others” are coming to get you, and they’re going to take away your guns, your religion, your freedom, and more, then understand that you are being manipulated. They want you to be afraid, and they know that fear will be expressed as anger and hatred. That’s what keeps you online for longer, and that’s how social networking sites make their money.

If you have a persistent feeling of anger, hatred, hopelessness, or other extreme emotions, then you’re being played by those whom you claim to respect.

Get back to what you love! Someone close to me used to make really detailed wooden ships. But then he got wrapped up in political commentary channels on YouTube. Since then, he’s not made ONE ship. He’s not felt positive about anything.

He lost himself and stopped being himself

Find that thing you love that you’ve abandoned in favor of a self-important reality TV show politician who always needs your attention and money. It could be knitting, making or listening to music, hiking, gaming, shooting a gun at the range, hunting, fishing, poetry, book club, or even helping others.

Whatever it might be, find those things and embrace them again. Trust me, the world isn’t going to die just because you did something that made you happy.

Try to find the best in others. This is a difficult one for me to do, because so many are under the spell that causes them to worship idiot politicians.

Have you ever said something that you thought was either nice or even neutral, and the other person took it negatively? When you view the intentions of someone else as being bad, then you will take everything they say as being bad.

In fact, I have a personal anecdote about that last one, so we’ll go there and then wrap it all up.


MY WORST DATE EVER
My dad was dating this woman and she had a daughter around my age. She was a really pretty young girl, same age as me [16]. The plan was that I’d take her out for a movie, maybe hang out at the mall and arcade, and then return.

I cleaned my car and dressed as nicely as possible, given that I was 16 and didn’t care much about fashion. When they arrived, at first glance, I thought that she and I would have a good time hanging out.

But she was severely depressed. Her depression put mine to shame. Made MY depression seem so small and inadequate, if you know what I mean. Someone who is more depressed than me should consider serious clinical help.

My dad gives me some money, and we head out. I open the door for her, and then get in.

As soon as I get in the car, her depression lights up like a bonfire. “You’re just taking me out because your dad paid you to take me out.” I tried to tell her that he was giving me money to pay for a date, because it wasn’t summer, I didn’t have my summer job, and so I couldn’t really afford to pay for a proper date.

We said a few other things back and forth. Eventually, she cried, “I’m ugly and you hate me!” and she ran out of the car. I explained to my dad and her mother what was said and what happened.

I never saw her again.

While I understand her huge, looming depression, she had also made some horrible assumptions about me. She assumed that I thought she was ugly, which was not true. She assumed that I didn’t really want to go out with her, which was also not true. She assumed that I’d gotten paid to take her out, which was not true.

She had an ugly view of the world, and assumed the worst in me. As a result, I never stood a chance, no matter how hard I tried.


IN THE END
Your own personal identity is a very important thing, because it informs others of what you’re all about. If your life is all about politics, then you are probably a very boring person to be around. Those who have attached their identities to a certain wealthy reality TV show politician are always angry, fearful, and ready to attack at any moment.

Nobody likes that. Nobody cares. Nobody wants you around.

And if you view others in a negative light, then you will be able to quickly and easily find the bad in everyone and everything, and you’ll never give anyone or anything the time of day. Instead, you’ll just stay inside your own head.

Nobody wants to be around that person.

If I were to meet a woman, and she told me that she was into X politician, and held X political beliefs, and was involved in X religion, then I’d know that this is a very shallow, boring person, and that I should get away from them quickly.

However, if I were to meet a woman, and she told me that she was into X type of music, loved spending time at X location, and enjoyed doing X with her group that meets every other week, then I’d instantly want to know more about this person.

Again, your political positions are THE most boring thing about you. And your religious beliefs are a close second.

Ideally, you should be living what these things mean to you. If that means that you’re a person who is ugly on the inside, and who has nothing but anger and hatred to offer, then it would be a really good idea to step back and re-evaluate your beliefs and positions.

There is nothing wrong with becoming a better person.


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Published by DrumWild

Writing about drums, music, and philosophy.

One thought on “Rebuild Your Identity [It Might Stink]

  1. That was one seriously messed-up young lady. I recommend she watch at least one OwlKitty video a day. Then take a chill pill and call you in the morning.

    Liked by 1 person

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